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Ohio's Vax-a-Million lottery drawing did not increase COVID-19 vaccination rates, study suggests

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Posted at 10:37 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 10:47:48-04

A new study from Boston University's School of Medicine suggests that Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery drawing was not associated with increased rates of adult COVID-19 vaccinations.

When Gov. Mike DeWine announced the lottery drawing on May 12, to randomly select vaccine recipients to receive a $ 1 million prize or a four-year college scholarship, his goal was to increase vaccinations among adults and teens.

The study looked at data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Tracker to identify daily first dose administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in adults 18 years or older.

Researchers evaluated trends in daily vaccination rates per 100,000 people from April 15 to May 12, before the vaccine, and again from May 13 to June 9, after the lottery announcement.

Between April 15 and June 9, the daily vaccination rate among adults declined from 485 people per 100,000 to 101 people per 100,000 in Ohio and from 700 people per 100,000 to 97 people per 100,000 in states without a lottery incentive.

The study suggested that after the Ohio vaccine lottery was introduced and implemented, from May 12 to June 9, the declines in daily vaccinations rates slowed in Ohio.

"These results contrast with prior reports of increased vaccination uptake in Ohio, which did not account for the contemporaneous expansion in vaccine eligibility to adolescents," wrote Dr. Allan K. Walkey, the lead researcher.

The study suggested that the rate of decline in vaccination slowed to a greater extent in the U.S. than in Ohio after the May 12 lottery announcement.

"Further evidence supporting the effectiveness of lotteries as strategies for increasing vaccine uptake are needed prior to widespread and potentially costly adoption," Walkey wrote.

A 'success
After the final Vax-a-Million drawing winners were announced on June 23, DeWine touted the success of the program.

“The Vax-a-Million promotion was a resounding success for Ohio, with major increases in vaccinations in the first two weeks of the promotion,” said DeWine. “The even better news is we have more Ohioans protected from COVID through the power of the vaccine. I continue to urge Ohioans to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones from this deadly virus.”

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccination rates grow in Ohio after Vax-a-Million lottery announcement

Over the five-week course of the lottery drawing, 3,469, 542 Ohioans entered the drawing to win $1 million and 154,889 Ohioans ages 12 to 17 entered the drawing for the four-year scholarship.

RELATED: Vax-A-Million seen as unorthodox, but legal way to promote vaccines in Ohio

Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.

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